Two environmental groups are asking the federal government to take over the state Department of Environmental Quality. The request is sparked by four accidents over the past two months.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade and the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project are holding a news conference in Baton Rouge to outline their request. Brigade founding director Anne Rolfes says the Environmental Protection Agency has the resources to monitor pollution and protect residents.
“It’s an unprecedented request but we believe we have an unprecedented situation in which our concerns are absolutely overlooked. Here we are, engaged citizens, exactly what you might hope for, and we are routinely not just blown off by the state agency but belittled.”
A spokeswoman for the DEQ says it’s premature to comment on the proposal until it’s reviewed, but says the state now has a “strong partnership” with the EPA.
The letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson outlines four accidents since March 22nd, with one May 10th that sent three workers at Westlake Chemical for hospital treatment. The groups are requesting a response from Jackson by May 31st.